“You’re a poo.”
“I am not a poo. You’re a poo.”
And so it goes on.
I hope the neighbours can’t hear them screaming this in the garden. I better go and intervene.
“No-one’s a poo, and it’s not nice to call your sister names.”
“She started it.”
“No I didn’t. She started it”
Then the tears come, from both of them.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. They’re supposed to be best friends. They should be playing and laughing together.
Or should they?
Just like my kids, you can’t get on with everyone all the time. When this happens to people running a charities, it can be particularly difficult.
They’re volunteers – unpaid, just like mums – and there because they want to be (ditto, mums). Often the charity will be doing work that’s close to their hearts. So when it all goes horribly wrong, people get upset.
In young children, this comes out as you’re a poo. In adults, it can be much, much worse. They can say far nastier things, and sometimes even resort to violence. That’s when your charity starts to suffer. Things grind to a halt and your trustees are not fulfilling their duties.
Mums are mediators. They listen to each side, they don’t take sides and shouldn’t make judgements on feelings. And they certainly shouldn’t laugh when they hear things like “I don’t like my sister – you should put her in the bin.”
I have to add a disclaimer here: if my two had been violent in any way it would be straight to ‘time out’ – no mediation, and no treats either.
So, when your trustees are calling each other a poo (you know what I mean!), you too can get a mum to sort things out.
In this case, mum means mediation. That’s when someone comes into your organisation, listens to both parties and remains completely objective. Then they try their best to help the two people come to an agreement on a way forward.
The Third Sector Mediation service is available to help charities in such circumstances. They’re brilliant at what they do, which is essentially working out how to help charities get on with the important work they do.
I’m trying to teach my kids that it’s ok to disagree with people, but calling your sister a poo, is not. They can agree to disagree and still get the job done of being sisters
Just remember that everyone can be a bit of a poo sometimes. But if it’s stopping your charity from getting the job done – maybe it’s time for a mediator.
P.S. Big shout out to all the mums and mediators out there – you’re doing a fab job!